Sammy’s Great Escape (2 stars)

Sammy’s Great Escape - MON 11 FEB,Sammy’s Great Escape - MON 11 FEB

Limp animation sequel to 2010's A Turtle's Tale

Sammy’s Painfully Long Incarceration would be a better title for this sequel to 2010’s A Turtle’s Tale: Sammy’s Adventures. With a sequel to Pixar’s Finding Nemo still several years away, there’s presumably a wide-open market for aquatic animations, but this dreary 3D Belgian import is unlikely to find a place in the hearts of adults and children alike.

3D impresario Ben Stassen (Fly Me To The Moon) and Vincent Kesteloot direct as leatherback turtle Sammy attempts to raise the cute hatchlings spawned at the conclusion of the original film. But Sammy and his pal Ray are kidnapped by employees of an underwater restaurant complex in Dubai, where rich sheiks nosh up on seafood while the fish watch terrified from behind glass. Despite the attentions of a slippery mobster seahorse, Sammy and Ray enlist the help of all the other fish to mastermind an daring escape attempt that will reunite Sammy with his family.

Small children may be enticed by the big-eyed creatures and colourful backgrounds featured here, but the lack of star names plus some leaden storytelling makes Sammy’s escape anything but great; nearly seventy minutes of the running time have passed before the annoyingly slow turtle makes a move for the exit. Until then there’s a labored attempt to equate the lives of the fish with prison-movie stereotypes, and a dubious exploration of the morality of eating fish; a scene in which a lobster watches an unfortunate pal being cut apart and eaten is truly disturbing, and belies the censor’s warning of ‘mild threat’.

A charmless sequel to a forgettable original, Sammy’s Great Escape presumably makes business sense to cash in on a half-term holiday. Only the naughtiest children, however, deserve such water-logged storytelling as Sammy offers.

General release from Fri 15 Feb.

Sammy's Great Escape Trailer - in UK cinemas Feb 15

Sammy's Great Escape

  • 2 stars
  • 2012
  • Belgium
  • 1h 32min
  • U
  • Directed by: Vincent Kesteloot/Ben Stassen
  • Cast: Voices of Wesley Johnny, Isabelle Fuhrman, Billy Unger
  • UK release: 8 February 2013

This charmless sequel to 2010's forgettable A Turtle's Tale would be better titled Sammy's Painfully Long Incarceration, as leatherback turtle Sammy and pal Ray are kidnapped by employees of a restaurant. A truly disturbing scene in which a lobster watches a pal being cut up and eaten makes this suitable only for the…